Had A Great Friday Night

Vaughn McMillan

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Had a great gig Friday night at the Dragonhorn, and and just had to share a bit with the guys here who might relate.

The company that makes my guitar rig (Fractal Audio) recently released yet another firmware, and this one was another big leap in tone. Without going into too much detail, the Fractal unit models the circuitry of nearly 300 different guitar amps (and a couple thousand speaker cabinets), and Cliff, the inventor of the unit keeps coming up with refinements to his algorithms. Lately he's been on a tear, coming up with new ideas faster than I can try them out. On our last gig a month ago, I was using firmware 8.0. Friday night, I was running v10.2. And yesterday he released the beta version of 11.0. :eek:

Throughout the gig, our other guitarist (who only plays acoustic guitar) kept telling me my tone was killing it. Lots of other friends who've heard us a lot also said the band sounded better than ever. I was loving it, too...getting sustain and controlled feedback like never before. But best of all was when my friend James Wood, who recently retired as Alice Cooper's head live sound engineer said not only was the band mix on point, but my guitar tones were great.

To top it off, one of my old guitar teachers (who I've not seen in 35 years or so) showed up at the gig, and his presence inspired my playing to another level. He's the guy who got me my first teaching job years ago. This teacher was also my buddy Tim Pierce's first teacher, and we had a good laugh remembering how he almost gave up on Tim because he just didn't have the knack for playing guitar. Bad sense of rhythm, couldn't tune his guitar, and just didn't seem to have much potential. Then Tim went away for a summer, practiced his butt off, and came back blazing. To those of you who don't know who Tim Pierce is, here's a list of some of the artists he's recorded with:


https://www.allmusic.com/artist/tim-pierce-mn0000593316/credits
 

Ted Calver

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Time for you folks to start offering CD's at your gigs, or does anybody use CD's anymore? How do bands market their music on a small scale these days?
 

Ryan Mooney

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Interesting, I remember how happy you were with the setup a couple years back when we went through. Pretty cool that a good think like that can keep getting better.

I was wondering the same. Have you guys thought about doing a live broadcast using something like the Mixlr app plugged right into the mixing board?

http://mixlr.com/

And then add them to to the live music archive on archive.org (formerly known as etree).
 

Brent Dowell

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Wow, Sounds like a great show. Must have been fun to reconnect with your teacher.

Congrats on the tone!
 

Vaughn McMillan

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Time for you folks to start offering CD's at your gigs, or does anybody use CD's anymore? How do bands market their music on a small scale these days?

Very few people buy CDs anymore, and even fewer (very close to zero) would by CDs of a band playing cover music. (Plus, the licensing fees would be a nightmare.) Jeff and I did the whole original music thing back in the '80s, and really don't have the desire to try to do much with that anymore. On top of needing to write good songs, you have to spend a lot of money to get a good recording. These days the recording equipment isn't all that expensive, but you still have to spend big bucks for for good production and engineering.

There are still bands out there selling CDs of original music, but they're lucky to make back their production costs. Much of the public expects to download music these days, and even when they pay for it, the musicians typically get fractions of a cent per sale.

Sales of recorded music have plummeted in the past decade or two. This year was the first time in a long time that vinyl record sales surpassed CD sales, and the vinyl market is really a niche market. (I'm pretty sure Brent singlehandedly accounts for about 5% of vinyl sales nationwide, lol.) :D
 

Vaughn McMillan

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I was wondering the same. Have you guys thought about doing a live broadcast using something like the Mixlr app plugged right into the mixing board?

I'd have to look into it more, but I suspect there would be some licensing issues if we were broadcasting other people's music. (Cover tunes.) I know if we put up a video on YouTube of us playing an Eagles song, it'll typically get yanked in less than a day. (The Eagles are very hardcore about their licensing. Other bands aren't as much.) The other issue is that our mixing board is't carrying everything. In the size of venues we play in, we typically don't need to run the bass or drums through the PA, so a board mix would sound pretty lopsided. Of course we could set up a separate mix for broadcast, but then we'd need to hire someone to monitor and adjust it while we're playing.

We've been working on getting some decent videos captured of a few songs. There are several that have been posted to YouTube over the years, but none that we're particularly happy with. Speaking for myself, I'd rather not be posting crappy smartphone videos of the band. There are already more than enough other bands doing it. ;)
 

Vaughn McMillan

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Yeah I'm not sure on the licensing..

There are literally hundreds of covers of "take it easy" found on archive: https://archive.org/details/etree?and[]="take+it+easy"&sin=
so :dunno: It's not really an unknown venue..

How much work would it be to put everyone through the same mixer board?

Not sure why Take it Easy gets a pass from the Eagles. maybe they don't own the rights to it? Or it may be because recordings on the archive site are not monetized. I did a quick check of Hotel California and got 3400 or so hits, but the vast majority of those were where people had uploaded one of the Eagles versions, not their own. With both songs, the versions that were posted that weren't the original Eagles recordings had the sound quality of being recorded on a cassette recorder in someone's living room. Heaven knows there are already enough crappy recordings out there of our band. I wouldn't want to add to the collection, lol.

Adding drum mics and a direct line from the bass amp to the mixer wouldn't be a lot of work, but the end result would still sound less than optimal (especially if we didn't have someone running the mix), and that's something we're pretty picky about. (Well, except for our drummer Donnie. He's posted a lot of videos of us -- and other bands he works with -- that make me cringe to hear.)

Case in point, here's a song Donnie recorded with his GoPro last month at the Dragonhorn. The playing and singing is decent, but the GoPro mic is not picking up a good balanced mix. Because of where it's located, it's getting mostly drums and Mike's stage monitor, which is primarily his acoustic guitar and vocals. Not really something I'd put on YouTube, but Donnie did anyway. ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Bct8iwWUok
 

Ryan Mooney

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Live Leftover Salmon playing it :dunno: (direct link for the rousing rendition of "Pasta on the Mountain") - plus ~100ish more...
https://archive.org/details/los2015-11-27.2448
It's.. slightly better .than a cell phone recording I guess. :rolleyes:
ok so four of them are different versions of that same show.. https://archive.org/details/LeftoverSalmon?and[]=date:2015-11-27%2A and one is a show Robin Hitchcock played _at_ The Hotel California so maybe 30-40 shows total :rofl:

And umm.. these boys need to lay off of it a little; Hotel California to the tune of Rocky Top .. because why not.
https://archive.org/details/los2018-10-03/los2018-10-03-t12.flac

Soundboard + multiple mic's blend - not bad actually..
https://archive.org/details/ALO2016-02-26.ALO2016-02-16.flac16/ALO2016-02-26d2T09.flac

The Cheese with a decent soundboard copy:
https://archive.org/details/sci1998-05-14.sbd.shnf/sci98-05-14d2Track10.shn

A rather excellent soundboard that is .. not all eagles covers.. but.. close.
https://archive.org/details/scvp2017-05-17.Overtheline.16bit.flac/25-hotelCalifornia.flac

I usually pull up new shows and if I don't see soundboard as the at least one of the sources I give it very little time. The audience/Mic recordings always have that one person up front either talking really loud or .. just a bit to into the music. Or like you note horribly balanced.

So what you really need is work on finding some taper fans who're into the recording thing and just give them soundboard access.. but then you have to deal with the fans.. :huh: Tough call. But yeah the post-processing is time consuming and not super easy.

Could be the monetization thing. I'm not sure.

Ok I found this https://www.youtube.com/music_policies?nv=1 which lets you search for cover song policies from here: http://suebasko.blogspot.com/2011/06/cover-songs-on-youtube.html which tries to explain some of the insanity.. This is just on youtube mind you.

So I search for "Hotel California" and "Eagles" and find three versions (Eagles live * 2 and one by The Eagles).. which have policies for cover songs that are literally all over the place :huh: :dunno:

Hotel California (Live at the Millennium Concert, Staples Center), Eagles - blocked in 199 countries
Hotel California (Live), Eagles - viewable worldwide
Hotel California The Eagles - Viewable everywhere except United States

So clearly you would want to do a cover of "Hotel California (Live), Eagles" not either of the other two which are.. somehow different.

Not that that will save you: "My ten hour white noise video now has five copyright claims! :)" https://twitter.com/littlescale/status/949032404206870528

For selling covers the need for a mechanical license seems moderately straightforwards (albeit at $0.10 - $0.11 per that is rough on margins for anything other than CD/vinyl).

For things like archive.org.. I'm really not sure.. I found one old and very inconclusive thread
https://archive.org/post/55276/legality-of-posting-live-shows-with-cover-songs
which.. was no help at all. I suspect that it's perhaps just not heavily policed, but given the time horizon of lots of the above and some of the entities involved, I have to wonder if there's another point here we're missing.
 
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